Setting up home for the first time

Starting out

Moving out of the family home for the first time can be great but it can be really difficult.

It is best to plan ahead to make sure you get the best accommodation you can, at the time you're ready, before you move out.

Be aware of the costs of living somewhere else:

  • Renting: To rent privately you will normally have to pay agent's fees, a deposit and rent in advance (see Rent Deposits and other Costs). Alternatively you may be able to share a house with other people or rent a room (see Find a room)
  • Social housing: Housing association homes are unfurnished so the tenant has to provide all furniture including a cooker and fridge and typically carpets and curtains
  • Buying: To buy you will need a substantial deposit, typically at least 10% of the property value or 5% under the Government's Help to Buy scheme. 

Save up before you move out

Ideally you need to save up before you leave home. You can save with a bank or building society, or if you save with a credit union then after a few months you may be able to borrow the rest of the money you need to rent.

Work out what you will be able to afford to pay each month.

To live in a self-contained home you will have costs including:

  • Rent or Mortgage
  • Council Tax
  • Water and sewage
  • Gas/ heating
  • Electricity

In shared accommodation these costs are often included in the rent.

You will also need to pay for a TV licence and for a land line/broadband if you want it, and it is wise to make sure you have contents insurance.

Housing Benefit

If you will need Housing benefit, when single and under 35 you are normally only entitled to the shared accommodation rate for private rented housing - see the Local Housing Allowance page to find out how much this is

The shared accommodation rate is not enough to pay for self-contained accommodation, and there are very few rooms available to people who are not working or at college.

Landlords often aren't keen on renting to young people especially those on housing benefit.

You will have a much better chance of getting somewhere to live if you are working; if at all possible get a job first and then look for somewhere to live.

If you have a job then shared accommodation is likely to be your best option to start with.

Social Housing

If you apply for social housing (housing association housing) and you are living with your parents you are normally placed into Band 3 on the housing register. The average wait for housing in Band 3 is currently one year although if you are prepared to live anywhere you may get housing a little more quickly whereas if you want a specific area you may have to wait a lot longer.


For advice about living with young people see Family Lives.